— -- As the most decorated Olympic swimmer in history, Michael Phelps is used to spending time in the pool. And now that he’s a dad, he’s passing on safe pool practices and the importance of water conservation to his son, Boomer.
“I think the biggest thing is just to get him to be water safe,” Phelps told ABC News. “Trying to get more kids water safe -- we lose way too many kids in the water every year.”
Whether the nearly 1-year-old Boomer will follow in his father’s competitive footsteps, Phelps said it’s far too early to say, but he said he and wife Nicole Johnson will support whatever he chooses.
“For right now, if he is able to be water safe and he’s able to fall in love with the sport, that’s great,” Phelps, whose foundation works to promote water safety, said. “If not, I won’t be too disappointed. Growing up, my mother was always very supportive of things I did and wanted to do. I was able to just fall in love with the sport, so it turned into this.”
He said his family is also concerned with conserving water and he’s recently partnered with Colgate’s #EveryDropCounts campaign.
“For me, growing up, obviously I spent a lot of time in the pool and around water,” Phelps, 31, said. “If you begin to think about what you’re doing on a daily basis and how much water we’re actually wasting, it’s mind-blowing. Think about if you brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, you’re wasting 4 to 5 gallons of water if you leave the water running. And that’s just one person.”
The 28-time Olympic medalist -- who's said that the 2016 Rio Olympics would be his last -- is using downtime to enjoy fatherhood.
“The last year has gone by so fast. It’s hard to imagine that he’s 1 year old coming up,” he said. “So many parents have said things to me like, ‘Watch how fast the time goes, and before you know it they’re graduating from high school.’ As weird as that sounds, I now see how true it is. We’re taking it moment by moment and step by step and enjoying every single little detail of him."